Macabre brutality on the victim was the standout feature that struck investigators in the Jisha rape and murder case in 2016.
Jisha, 30, a law student, was found murdered in her one-room run-down house on the bank of a nondescript canal in Perumbavoor on April 28, 2016. The Ernakulam principal district and sessions court on Thursday awarded death sentence to Ameer for raping and murdering Jisha.
As soon as the investigation officers, with several years of experience, reached the spot, they unanimously concluded that such brutality was unseen in crimes perpetrated by those in the state. A highly placed source, who did not want to be named, said the team collected a footwear of the suspected murderer from the crime spot.
With this, the cops set off on a trail of the murderer. The police even resorted to a stump-call at Perumbavoor wherein they urged the public to help them identify the probable owner of the footwear.
Meanwhile, another team was scouting migrant labor camps to check if someone was 'missing'. The police did not take long to zero in on Ameer ul-Islam. Another migrant worker promptly identified the footwear as the former's.
There was simultaneous efforts to track down his mobile location. The police got information that he had traveled up to Aluva and the phone was switched off then on.
An officer said Jisha, in a bid to wriggle out of the clutches of Ameer ul-Islam, had bitten on his hand. There were blood stains on the rear door. The DNA samples collected from the scene, including blood and saliva, matched that of Ameer ul, the officer said. This was the clinching evidence, he added.
The officer said the 'perversion' and ghastly manner in which Ameer ul wielded the knife, inflicting wounds on the victim's private parts, indicated that murder was not the only aim. He said Ameer ul was 'hard' to crack and the police had to prod him hard for every trickle of information. He was 'non-cooperative'.
Ameer, who had left Perumbavoor soon after committing the crime, was arrested from Kancheepuram in neighboring Tamil Nadu 50 days after the incident.
Jisha murder case had rocked Kerala with political parties making allegations and counter allegations about sinister designs by politicians. The incident was in focus during the state assembly polls campaign last year with political parties attacking the then Congress-led UDF regime for 'tardy' progress in the probe and 'failure' to nab culprits.
More than 100 police personnel had questioned over 1,500 people in the case.
Fingerprints of over 5,000 people were also examined by the SIT personnel who went through over 20 lakh telephonic conversations before reaching Ameer.
The probe based on CCTV footage had also failed to crack the case.
The LDF government, after assuming power on May 25, 2016, changed the investigation team and entrusted the probe to ADGP B Sandhya in its first cabinet meeting itself.